Thyroid hormones and growth in health and disease

J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2011;3(2):51-5. doi: 10.4274/jcrpe.v3i2.11. Epub 2011 Jun 8.


Thyroid hormones regulate growth by several mechanisms. In addition to their negative feedback effect on the stimulatory hormones thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and thyrotropin (TSH), thyroid hormones also regulate their receptors in various physiological and pathological conditions. Up-regulation and down-regulation of the thyroid receptors fine-tune the biological effects exerted by the thyroid hormones. Interestingly, the deiodinase enzyme system is another intrinsic regulator of thyroid physiology that adjusts the availability of thyroid hormones to the tissues, which is essential for normal growth and development. Almost all chronic diseases of childhood impair growth and development. Every disease may have a unique mechanism to halt linear growth, but reduced serum concentration or diminished local availability of thyroid hormones seems to be a common pathway. Therefore, the effects of systemic diseases on thyroid physiology must be taken into consideration in the evaluation of growth retardation in affected children.

Keywords: Thyroid; children; growth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Growth / physiology*
  • Growth Disorders / etiology
  • Growth Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / complications
  • Hypothyroidism / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Liver Diseases / physiopathology
  • Malnutrition / etiology
  • Malnutrition / physiopathology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Thyroid Hormones / physiology*


  • Thyroid Hormones